The American Civil Liberties Union is asking an appellate court to let it begin collecting signatures that would put a new Missouri law banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy to a public vote

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking an appellate court to let it begin collecting signatures that would put a new Missouri law banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy to a public vote.

The Missouri branch's acting executive director, Tony Rothert, told a three-judge panel of the state's Court of Appeals on Monday it had been premature for GOP Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to reject petitions by it and prominent Republican donor David Humphreys to put the law on the 2020 ballot. Rothert wants to begin the process of collecting the more than 100,000 required signatures by July 18.

He says the petition-gathering process needs to be completed before most of the new law, including the eight-week abortion ban, takes effect Aug. 28. The court didn't immediately rule.